Who’ll win the battle of the £35bn of “Tory Tax Cuts” ?

Who’ll win the battle of the £35bn of “Tory Tax Cuts” ?

    YouGov poll gives big boost to Gordon Brown

With the first poll on the budget showing a generally favourably response for its contents and for Gordon Brown in particular the big media focus has been on Labour’s “£35bn Tory Tax-Cuts” claim and the respective merits of the Chancellor and the Prime Minister.

According to the YouGov poll in the Daily Telegraph, 63 per cent see Mr Brown as an “asset” to Labour compared to 34 per cent for Mr Blair. When asked who was doing the better job, 52 per cent said Brown compared to 17 per cent for Blair.

Unfortunately the report of the poll does not include a party share figure although we understand that the question was asked. This might be covered tomorrow.

The Daily Mail’s front page this morning will not surprise anybody but sets the scene for what will be a major clash point of the campaign. Whenever the Tories mention anything the Labour retort is going to be that they are planning £35bn of tax cuts.

What is interesting is the way the Tories have tried to nail the figure as a “lie” and the manner in which the TV networks, who are legally required to be neutral, are reporting the argument.

For those who did not watch ITV News last night Simon Carr in the Independent has a good description on the Labour poster launch, how reporter, Nick Robinson, handled it and the Brown-Blair relationship.

…..Unfortunately, one of the journalists was ITV’s Nick Robinson, who isn’t as cuddly as he looks. With the field to himself, he pursued the Prime Minister in a single line of questioning. That is extremely rare. It was also extremely funny. The person who found it funniest was Gordon Brown. You rarely see a genuine smile in politics. Mr Brown struggled to suppress his, but eventually he gave in and let it beam. It was like the sun coming out.

Nick said: “Why do you persist in misrepresenting your opponents’ policies? You know they are saying they will increase spending but at a slower rate?”. .”Actually, that is not what they’re saying,” the Prime Minister started, speaking more quickly to bring off the semantic three-card trick we now know so well.

“You can’t cut money that hasn’t been spent,” Nick said. “You’re alleging they’ll make cuts. But now you’re saying they’ll spend less. The words are different!”

“They’re not different,” the Prime Minister said urgently, stepping across Gordon’s grin. What a hound he is, our Prime Minister, when he’s on form. What he says may not be true but that’s not important. What is important is what works.

But – you could see the scary thought scribbling itself across the PM’s forehead – what if it doesn’t work any more? The very same thought was driving Mr Brown’s delighted smile.

One of the site’s most regular contributors, Alex, made this observation on the Labour campaign strategy. Re: the labour campaign. Does anyone think that the focus today on the ‘35 billion’ Cuts is another brilliant Labour campaign move? Not. They’ve managed to kill the headlines about the supposedly positive budget, where they can trumpet their own record, before most people had even had time time to digest it and replaced them with another political spat where they’ve basically had to admit they’re misleading people somewhat.

JUDGE FOR YOURSELF. The BBC have a link to the video here.

General Election odds round-up.

Mike Smithson

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